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By Fr. Joseph B. Moriarty
Director of the archdiocesan Office of Priestly and Religious Vocations
Reflecting on this year’s Religious Vocations Supplement theme of “Lives Bearing Lasting Fruit,” I am reminded of many priests and sisters, holy men and women who nourished my priestly vocation by their prayerful example and their lives bearing lasting fruit.
Our theme for this supplement is derived from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ brochure “Words of the Holy Father,” in which Pope John Paul II reflects on the words of John’s Gospel—“Go to bear fruit, fruit that will last” (Jn 15:16)—and encourages youth to consider a vocation of service and sacrifice in the Church.
As I reflect upon my own call to priesthood, I remember many priests and sisters, holy men and women whose lives of faith, devotion and service live on in my own priestly ministry. Their lives bore fruit in my life, and I believe continue to bear fruit in the life of my priestly ministry.
These priests and sisters, holy men and women, taught me that at the root of every Christian vocation is Jesus Christ. It is he who calls, confirms and equips us to faithfully live out all that he calls us to.
In my parent’s marriage, in my pastors and associate pastor’s commitment to priesthood, in the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Oldenburg, in the Benedictine monks of Saint Meinrad, and in the priests and professors at Mundelein Seminary, the message that Jesus Christ is the root of every Christian vocation has been made clear to me.
I recall these people of faith often when I hear and read the words, “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19-20). For as they heard and believed these words, they have formed me to do the same.
Imagine! These words were spoken at the Last Supper 2,000 years ago, and they abide today in the lives of those who hear and believe. It is no coincidence that these words were spoken at the Last Supper for it is here, at the Last Supper, that Christ instituted the Eucharist and celebrated what we have come to know as the liturgy, “the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed” (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy).
Giving witness to the liturgy as the central action of importance in the faith lives of priests and sisters, holy men and women, brought and continues to bring a renewed understanding of what the priest is praying when he says, “May he make us an everlasting gift to you” (“Eucharistic Prayer III,” Roman Sacramentary).
In desiring to make ourselves an everlasting gift to God, we live lives bearing lasting fruit. Let us pray in the contexts of the liturgy that God through our vocations will make us everlasting gifts to himself.
Many efforts have been initiated this past year by the archdiocesan Vocations Office and supportive organizations, including the Serra Club of Indianapolis and the Terre Haute Serra Club, to foster a clearer sense that Jesus Christ is the root of every Christian vocation.
I offer a particular thanks and congratulations to the Serra Club of Indianapolis, who made available prayer booklets on “The Holy Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration” to every parish within the archdiocese, to the Serra Club of Terre Haute for affirming their priests and religious with an evening of affirmation, and to the Knights of Columbus, whose statewide campaign to support our seminarians includes offering stipends to every seminarian in the state.
Many of our parishes have begun Holy Hours with adoration and Benediction for vocations. I thank our pastors, parish life coordinators and all who have organized and contributed to these efforts.
Indeed, Jesus Christ is the root of every vocation.
Within the pages of this Religious Vocations Supplement, you will read stories of the lives of men and women who desire that their life be an everlasting gift to God that bears lasting fruit. On one page, you will see pictures of the seminarians of the archdiocese surrounding a photograph of Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein praying before the Blessed Sacrament.
Following the lead of our archbishop, it is here that we must pray, it is here that we must be rooted, for indeed Christ is the root and foundation of every Christian vocation. Rooted in him, our lives will bear fruit; fruit that will last. †